By Carol Higgins Taylor
Recently, the world was abuzz about Russian spies living among us in U.S. cities and suburbs. It’s the stuff novels are made of, yet it’s all too true.
Now, I am not suggesting we have a spy on every corner, just that in this day and age, it pays to be educated and well informed. Then there is the BP oil disaster. You just never know when something like this can happen in your neighborhood. After all, Maine has been having more and more tornadoes lately, not to mention Hurricane Earl. Do you know what to do in the event of a community emergency?
To that end, the Penobscot County Triad and the National Sheriff’s Association have come together to bring you the All-Hazards Homeland Security Initiative Community Partnership and Awareness Training. Sounds like a ball, right? Just keep reading. I’ve been assured that this event will have “humor, games and fun.”
First off, it’s free with a continental breakfast and a delicious lunch. Secondly, the information is very valuable. In times of crisis, first responders are overloaded. Have you ever wished you could help in an emergency situation but didn’t know where to begin? This unique training opportunity is designed to teach you and your fellow community members how best to respond to a disaster.
“The audience should be a mix of private citizens and community leaders, both formal and informal, it is really open to everyone who wants to be knowledgeable about handling the unexpected,” said Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross, Triad chair. “Each person who attends this event will learn how to develop a family disaster kit and will assist in developing a Community Resources Database. The day covers terrorist activities and natural and human error disasters.”
This one-day seminar on citizen preparedness and response will be held 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Way, Brewer.
“Hurricane Katrina taught us that citizens may be left to cope with a crisis for the first few hours or even longer,” Ross said. “That could happen here, too. Those who come to this workshop will understand how to react in a crisis. Power outages, violent storms, nor’easters and the like. Everyone should know the basics.”
You’ll learn how to be a great witness and learn to remember everything you saw, heard, felt, even smelled. If you were traveling and saw a bag in the airport all by itself, would you report it or just hope it was left by an innocent passenger by mistake and not a bomb?
Do you have a “communication card” that contains meeting places for family in the event of a community disaster, addresses or friends, out-of-town phone numbers? The purpose of these cards is to smooth the progress of bringing families back together.
Then there is the age-old question of whether to stay home or evacuate. Your chances of making the right decision will be better after this seminar. And if you do stay home, what will you need? This seminar has it all.
Let’s face it. The world has changed. There are weapons of mass destruction, terrorist plots, natural and corporate disasters and we are left, most of the time, to figure it out on our own. There are numerous average citizens but comparatively very few workers on emergency crews. They need our help when disaster strikes.
If you’re interested in participating in this one-of-a-kind event, call Michelle Tanguay at 945-4750 or Sheriff Ross at 942-7748.
It’s a great feeling to know you’re prepared for the worst. Sometimes the hardest thing to face in a disaster is the feeling of helplessness. If you agree, this seminar is for you.
Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail Higgins Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, e-mail email@example.com or log on EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.